Thirteen: The Hope, Peckham, SE15 5QW

The venue: The Hope, 3 Melon Road, Peckham, SE15 5QW

The Sunday dinner: Chicken (white wine and thyme roasted, no less).

The price: £11.50. Extra gravy is £1. I. Can’t. Even.

I had quite a bit of feedback following last week’s post. I was called “as unsympathetic a character as it’s possible to be”, which sounds harsh, but simply means I’m at the top of my game, I suppose. Excelling at being an arsehole. Which isn’t a bad thing. 

Someone else remarked that they’d like to have Sunday dinner with me, which was nice, while another wrote that I sound “right filthy”. I don’t know whether to feel hurt or proud about that. I mean, I don’t want to sound like some awful, middle-aged slut. I’m not. For instance, I’m only prepared to do anal after twelve weeks in a loving relationship, which I believe shows that I’m pure, refined and ladylike. 

If they meant filthy in the more slovenly sense of the word, then they have a fair point. I’ll often pop to the shops without brushing my hair, for example. I tell myself it’s ok because I live in London now, and must appear quirky and eccentric like Helena Bonham-Carter, rather than a scruffy bitch, which was what my neighbours and my mum shouted at me when I lived in Birmingham. 

While I know my language is foul and uncouth, I’ve only passed wind in front of Mr Jus once in two and a half years. And I was asleep at the time, so can barely be held culpable. 

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’m a complex character. As well as an unsympathetic one. An enigma, if you will. You won’t? Oh. Well maybe this will change your mind…

My online persona has basically gone stratespheric this week. I now have 64 Twitter followers. You heard right. 64. An Instagram photo, idly posted, received nine likes. Strangers want to eat with me (one stranger, but it got five likes, so I figure those people might want to as well – it’s almost The Last Supper). And, believe it or not,  I now have celebrity gravy endorsers. Here’s a chef off the telly, joining me in sticking two fingers up to all of you snobby, misguided, granule haters, also known as ‘fucking idiots’:

So there you have it, player haters. 

It was slightly overfamiliar of him to add a kiss, I thought, but I’m quite used to men throwing themselves at me, or in front of trains because of me. Because I’m enigmatic, as I said. Yes, James Martin, Robert Downey Jr, and Nigel Havers ignored my polite requests, the miserable fuckers, but here’s James Purefoy, clearly flirting:

I played it cool, as you can see, but to be honest with you, I’d let him in the tradesman’s entrance by week three, if pushed. I mean, he only used two dots in his second ellipsis, which, understandably, made my erection soften, but we can all forgive the odd typo if someone’s hot, can’t we? 

Initially, I planned to contact John Le Mesurier and Tom Selleck as they were still on my mind after last week. Unfortunately, the former is dead and the latter isn’t on Twitter, so it wasn’t possible. Buoyed by my success, I’m going to see if I can get this week’s post retweeted by one of New Kids On The Block. Speaking of groups I used to like when I was younger, I saw two of my oldest friends from Cleethorpes this weekend. We hadn’t been together as a threesome for nine years, for no other good reason than all being selfish and lazy. But that’s ok. We accept each other.

Being with them this weekend felt like home. They are my people. Despite being apart for  almost a decade, we slipped with ease, and within seconds, into verbal abuse, working class behaviour, and childish laughter. We each told our tales from the past nine years and it was beautiful to witness how we moved seamlessly from spiteful piss-taking to giving each other caring, supportive, words of praise and encouragement. It was great to be back with my northern girls. 

That was until Caff and I discovered that Michele, who’s a bit older than us, didn’t even move to Cleethorpes until she was fourteen. Turns out she’s from fucking Surrey.

To be fair, she’s a bit older than us and used to use Elizabeth Arden, so we should have guessed she was an imposter, but it still came as quite a shock. I thought she was one of us. I mean, she still lives in Cleethorpes, so flies the flag, I suppose, but it changed the mood and dynamic somewhat. 

We thought about asking her to leave, but decided to let it go for now, but it’ll definitely be a topic we bring up at our next gathering in 2026.

Mr Jus and I have enjoyed a relatively argument-free week, although he did have an issue with me opening a tin of tomatoes on Monday, so it’s still a bit like being in a prison, run by some controlling, bossy weirdo. He thought I’d only have a few and end up wasting the rest, so took a dim view of me wantonly cracking some open. I couldn’t be arsed to argue, even though I’d bought the fucking tomatoes (Napolina, to please Vinegar Tits/his lordship), so if I want to just tip them all down the sink I could. It annoyed me, because I remembered this dog food he bought for Ripley. It wasn’t even for Christmas Day; just on a random weekday in February. 

Right. This is what Broken Britain is really all about. Fuck your bunting. Screw your garden party.

Ok, so I have cheaper meals than this and I’m a human and I work full time and I, unlike Ripley, haven’t happily eaten cat shit before now. I had a Tesco Meal Deal for my tea last night. It was £3, so slightly more expensive, but included crisps and a drink. This doesn’t seem right. I can’t have a few tinned tomatoes on a bacon sandwich, but check out the ‘composition’ here: 

He’s never bought me organic green beans or milk thistle, you know. He also doesn’t hold me up in front of the telly when James Purefoy appears on the box either. 

Hmm. It’s all a bit intimate. Food for thought. Speaking of which (food, not thoughts), LET’S EAT. 

Today’s venue was chosen by the love of my life, and utter control freak, Mr Jus. 

I think the neon sign enticed him as well as the fact that dogs were welcome, putting Ripley and I at immediate ease. The decor was all portraits and teal. Here’s Ripley, relaxing on the parquet floor. 

As well as the portrait gallery, they’d also got loads of tinned tomatoes on display, which I found weird and spooky. It’s serendipity, isn’t it? You couldn’t make this shit up. 

Here’s the dinner. 

The chicken skin was, sadly, a bit too flobbery, but I still took it down to Tummy Town. The meat was tender and tasty. It sat perched atop of parsnip puree, which provided a new slant, I suppose. And, while it was a nice addition to the plate, balancing the al dente brocolli, kale and carrots vibe with a bit of tasty mush, did it detract from the fact that we’d only received only two roast potatoes per person? No, it fucking didn’t.

However, what grinded my gears the most was being charged £1 for extra, watery gravy. Twelve weeks I’ve been going now, and not once did a previous venue have the audacity to try and make an extra buck from my addiction. This is £1’s worth of gravy:

Absolute jokers. Fifteen points removed. Fuck it. Twenty points removed. Come on. Ordering copious amounts of extra gravy for free has been the only thing that has kept me going through all this. I’ve paid hundreds of pounds so far and I’ve never been truly happy, have I? And today, I have to pay for dog food gravy. 

I say that, because it was made from bone marrow gravy, which is the main ingredient of Pedigree Chum. Maybe. 

It just sounds like something Ripley would eat. I remember having bone marrow butter in New York on one of my many visits there (I’ve been twice). It repeated on me, especially when I was puking up red wine later that day, what with being a borderline alcoholic for many, many years now. It wasn’t a fond memory; I was absolutely battered. 

I asked Mr Jus what he thought of the meal. 

“It was ok. I wasn’t that hungry so it’s harder to judge. My indifference may be down to my lack of hunger or because it wasn’t that good. Either way, it was a bit meh.”

I shot him a dirty look for saying ‘meh’, and lost my erection for the second time this week, but allowed him to continue. 

“I also want to mention Paul Benbow, because he asked for a name check the other week, so seems quite needy, but I won’t call him a cunt like you asked me to, because I’ve never met him, although I have seen his wife drive a Range Rover, but not on a fetish site.”

I’m seriously not letting him have a quote next week. He makes less sense than I do, which is going some. But what’s more senseless than both of us, is The Hope’s decision to charge for extra gravy. It marred what could have been an above average mediocre meal, if that’s not an oxymoron. 

In conclusion, I think we should all take a moment to remember that the best things in life are, and should always be, free. And that Michele is from fucking Surrey. 

Final score: 15/33


8 thoughts on “Thirteen: The Hope, Peckham, SE15 5QW

  1. 12 weeks for anal? Harsh.

    I read your blog very slowly. Not because i’m in any way impaired, like you just suggested in your terrible mind, but because i like to savour (and judge) every sentence much like you would your host’s gravy.

    This week my favourite words were “The chicken skin was, sadly, a bit too flobbery, but I still took it down to Tummy Town”

    So thanks for that.
    Now i must away to Facebook, where i shall write exactly the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your reportage even though it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever visit anywhere you write so elegantly about. I enjoy your writing because of gravy and because you’re as funny as fuck.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you should have made a stance and walked out on finding they charged £1 for extra gravy or, you should have scraped every last drop off your plate when you finished back into their pretentious jug/bowl and asked for a refund of the amount you were returning.

    Keep up the Birmingham mentions, some of us never have never left (not in the same way Americans have never travelled anywhere other than the local supermarket)

    Liked by 1 person

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